Turning knowledge into wisdom

By guest blogger Malcolm Tullett

There are four steps to wisdom:

1. Acquiring data
2. Turning the data into information
3. Using the information to gain knowledge
4. Applying wisdom to the use of that knowledge.

The current health and safety legislation and guidance has an abundance of data – and some of it is presented as information, however, it’s confusing. There’s so much duplication as each new law repeats what’s gone before – with a few extra twists. It’s no wonder that organisations are confused, let alone the individual members of staff who have to apply them on a day-to-day basis.

Most employees only understand risk on a surface level – they’re told ‘do this’ and they do it (or, in some cases, don’t do it). Most of them don’t really think about it much, other than as a bit of a nuisance.

People are swamped with information, policy documents, safety regulations, warnings, manuals – who has the time to read it, let alone try to understand it or apply it intelligently?

When people are taught dynamic risk assessment all that changes. In order to assess a rapidly changing set of circumstances, they have to think! They have to understand what is happening and then make good quality decisions – in other words they are forced to apply wisdom before taking action.

If the skills of dynamic risk assessment were taught throughout your organisation from the top down, how much better would your operation function and how much more effective would you be?

One Comment

Julio Vazquez

Interesting post. I do, however, disagree with the 4th item in the list as you’re stating that wisdom is a step to wisdom. I would restate the last step as using the acquired knowledge in the correct situations. 😀

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